PES European affairs ministers call for balanced European budget

14/05/2018

GAC meeting with Keir Starmer

PES European affairs ministers chaired by Michael Roth, in discussion with Keir Starmer from the UK Labour party

European affairs ministers from the Party of European Socialists today discussed the Commission's proposal for a European budget for the years 2021-2027.

They assessed the Commission’s proposal and highlighted the lack of a cohesion dimension. The budget must live up to citizen's needs and expectations.

German Minister of State for Europe and chair of the PES GAC Ministers network Michael Roth stated: 

"The European budget is the tool for promoting solidarity, equality and cohesion in Europe. It is positive that funds for addressing migration, promoting research and strengthening the Erasmus programme are increased. It must be our aim to find the right balance to assure social cohesion on the one hand and forward-looking financial responsibility on the other."

Ministers also expressed their concern about gradual moves by the Polish government to weaken the rule of law in the country.

Mr Roth added:

"It is clear that time is running out for Poland. They must take steps to restore the rule of law. We have shown great patience. But this situation can no longer be tolerated."

The ministers also held discussions with Keir Starmer, the UK Labour party's Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

Mr Roth said:

"We had a very interesting discussion today with Keir. A lot of issues are still on the table and it is clear that the UK debate about Brexit has become increasingly tangled as the deadline for negotiations approaches. We need a coherent message from the UK government to start resolving outstanding issues in a way that respects the rights of citizens and prioritises their interests, both in the UK and the rest of the EU."

The meeting was also attended by:

  • Helena Dalli, Maltese Minister for European Affairs and Equality  
  • Ana Paula Zacarias, Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs
  • Victor Negrescu, Romanian Minister delegate for European Affairs    
  • Ann Linde, Swedish Minister for European Affairs and Trade     
  • Keir Starmer, UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union,
  • Frans Timmermans, First Vice President of the European Commission
  • Javier Moreno, Secretary General of the S&D Group in the European Parliament
  • George Katrougalos, Greek Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs (observer)
  • Marije Laffeber, PES Deputy Secretary General
  • Yonnec Polet, PES Deputy Secretary General